The Arms Trade Treaty

Every day thousands of people are killed, injured, raped, and forced to flee from their homes as a result of the poorly regulated global arms trade. Conventional weapons facilitate these abuses, and in response IANSA, as part of the Control Arms alliance, is calling for a bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty (ATT): a global, legally binding agreement that will better control irresponsible international transfers of conventional weapons and munitions.

The ATT will be negotiated in July 2012 and IANSA aims to ensure that it has the means to reduce levels of gun violence and decrease the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

This can be achieved by the inclusion of strong and relevant provisions in the Treaty text, and including small arms and light weapons and related ammunition within the scope of the Treaty. It is also essential that measures to prevent gender based violence and sexual violence against women are part of the ATT. To protect women's rights, the relevant binding international instruments covering gender based violence, including rape and sexual violence, must be applied in arms transfer decisions. To read more click here.

To see a more detailed description of how SALW and related ammunition should be included in the ATT click here.

 

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History was made today when the countries of the world passed the Arms Trade Treaty with 154 votes in favor at the United Nations.

An International campaign for the Elimination of Violence against Women is under way.

On 7th November, members States of United Nations at the 67th session of UN General Assembly First committee, voted the Resolution L11 on the Arms Trade Treaty in New York at UN Headquarter. 157 voted in favour, 18 abstentions and Zero vote against. The Resolution mandates Conference on ATT to be held in March 2013. The ATT Resolution was initiated by a group of co-authors including Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and United Kingdom.

The 67th Session of the GA’s First Committee will begin on Monday 8th October at the UN Secretariat in New York.

This month, UN member states are gathering in New York to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

Iraqi Organization for Rehabilitating Society and Environment, IANSA member in Karbala, Iraq distributed materials and organised several discussion sessions with university students, teachers and youth groups about the need to refuse gun violence and the dangers of small arms proliferation in communities. Participants declared their support for the Arms Trade Treaty and agreed on the importance of legislation to forbid the circulation of small arms. They called on decision-makers to work with civil society to stop gun violence. 

The South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms (SSANSA)organised a roundtable discussion on the ATT. Participants discussed the ATT Chairman’s Draft Paper and put forth various comments, which will be handed over to the South Sudan delegation that will go to the ATT Diplomatic Conference. During the meeting, eight religious leaders signed the Faith-based Declaration on the ATT.

The Indian Institute for Peace, Disarmament & Environmental Protection (IIPDEP), IANSA member in India, and Nav Bharat Nirman Sangh- Hyderabad undertook a range of activities for the Global Week of Action. A seminar was held in Hyderabad, South India, which was attended by many political leaders, intellectuals, youth and policy makers. Participants deliberated on how to curb the menace of SALW and urged the Government of India to take leadership in the ATT Diplomatic Conference.

The Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), IANSA member in Uganda, is holding a workshop the Kapchorwa District in Eastern Uganda with the district task force of the National Focal Point on Small Arms. The objective is to create awareness about gender dimensions on small arms and the ATT, and to educate the participants on Uganda’s gun legislations and gun policies.  Marren Akatsa-Bukachi, Executive Director of EASSI also wrote an article the need to include ammunition in the ATT that was published in the daily newspaper the New Visio

In Macedonia, CIVIL, the Centre for Freedom organised a range of activities. They held a conference and film screening of ‘The Story so far’ in Skopje for 100 people and collected signatures to support their recommendations to the Government of Macedonia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including support for the ATT and ways to overcome SALW issues in Macedonia. They also organised a briefing for journalists, focusing on ethnic violence, a major issue in Macedonia, and shared IANSA materials and created their own in Macedonian. 

The Swedish Fellowship on Reconciliation (SweFOR), IANSA member in Sweden, held a rally to hand out information and collect signatures for a robust ATT as part of its campaign "Stop Arms Save Life" in Uppsala, north of Stockholm.  SweFOR, in collaboration with a parliamentarian from the Parliamentary Network against SALW and the Parliamentary Forum on SALW, handed out the Parliamentary Declaration and leaflets on the ATT in the Swedish Parliament.

The Institute of Human Rights Communication Nepal (IHRICON), IANSA member in Nepal along with the Armed Violence Reduction Working Group and National Women Security Watch Group, organised an interactive workshop on the “Arms Trade Treaty and Gender”. Ms. Prassanata Wasti presented data on the security situation of Nepal since 2010. Ms. Shobha Gautam, IHRICON’s founder and president, presented her paper on the Arms Trade Treaty and Gender.

IANSA members in Cote d’Ivoire were very active during the Week of Action. RASALAO-Cote d’Ivoire organised an outreach activity in relation to the proliferation of small arms and the misuse of light weapons in ECOWAS countries. They met with spokespersons of the President and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reinforce the need for an effective contribution by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire during ATT negotiations in New York. Amnesty-Cote d’Ivoire organised a debate on the ATT in Abidjan to raise the awareness and plead for robust and strong treaty.

Colonie des Pionniers du Développement, IANSA member in Burundi, shared with journalists recommendations gathered by field workers, after debates were broadcasted on several radio channels, including the African Public Radio and Bonesha FM. Recommendations include improving dialogue between politicians, ratification and implementation of the Kinshasa Convention and the government’s support for a strong ATT, as well as the inclusion of both ammunition and gender in the treaty text. 

Around 80 people, mostly women dressed in black, gathered in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila to call on the Philippine government to support a strong, gender-responsive Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Participants were from the Women Engaged in Action on 1325 and from the Philippine Action Network to Control Arms led by the Center for Peace Education, Amnesty International, GZO Peace Institute and Pax Christi-Miriam College.

Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network, IANSA member in Belgium, decided to focus this week on the Arms Trade Treaty. The organisation is writing an open letter, which will be shared with all the national members of the network, so that they can diffuse it to their governments to advocate in favour of the ATT. 

IANSA Women in the DRC Femmes des Médias pour la Justice au Congo (FMJC), are undertaking a range of activities this week. After having put up large banners with key messages on main streets, they broadcast advertisements and organised a march against the negative consequences of armed violence in Eastern DRC. They also met Congolese officials to encourage them to adopt the law on SALW in DR Congo and to ratify the Kinshasa Convention, and organised a workshop on the content of the ATT and the review of the PoA.

REPPACT (the Network for the Promotion of Peace and Citizenship), IANSA member in Chad, led awareness-raising activities with youth in schools. They highlighted the role of youth in peace-building and drew their attention to the need to regulate the trade and stop the illicit trafficking of small arms. Members have met local authorities and representatives of the Ministry of Security to emphasise the need for Chad to support a strong ATT in July, and to sign and ratify it once it has been negotiated.

Following active lobbying by the Fundacion Per la Pau, IANSA member in Spain, the Catalan Parliament has released a declaration where all the parliamentary groups expressed their support for a global ATT to regulate the arms trade.

The Colonie des Pionniers de Développement (CPD), IANSA member in Burundi, is working with local media, including the African Public Radio and the National Public Radio of Burundi to raise citizens’ awareness of the issues of gun violence and the importance of the government’s support for a strong Arms Trade Treaty.

CAMYOSFOP, IANSA member in Cameroon, held a discussion with Members of Parliament on the Diplomatic Conference on the ATT and the need for Cameroon to ratify the Kinshasa Convention on small arms and light weapons. The Leader of the SDF Parliamentary Group, Hon Joseph Banandzen, informed them that the bill for to ratify the Kinshasa Convention will be received for scrutiny. CAMYOSFOP will also be meeting with the officials of the Ministry of External Relations on the role of Cameroon in the upcoming Diplomatic Conference on the ATT.

Women in Alternative Action - WAA Cameroon were the main guests on the National Radio CRTV broad audience interactive programme Morning Safari. The interactive, call-in programme was geared towards bringing attention to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Diplomatic Conference in July 2012, the UNPoA Review Conference as well as on the need for the Cameroon Government to ratify the Kinshasa Convention and to harmonise the draft firearms law proposed by WAA Cameroon to Ministries and Parliament.

The dedicated United Nations website on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations went live on 7 June: www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/. This website serves as the primary information platform regarding the historic United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which will take place in New York from 2 to 27 July.

In Barcelona, the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) is organising a talk on the Arms Trade Treaty with Xavier Alcalde, ICIP researcher and Jordi Armadans, and director of Fundació per la Pau (Peace Foundation), IANSA member in Spain. Both will share their perspectives on the preparatory committees and the upcoming diplomatic conference.

AI Switzerlandproduced four short videos in English with a class of art students in Zürich to support the ATT campaign. Watch the videos on the Amnesty Switzerland website here.

West African Amnesty International Sections are organising a football match to raise awareness for the Golden Rule in the Arms Trade Treaty. AI Sections participating in the tournament are: AI Benin, AI Burkina Faso, AI Mali, AI Senegal, AI Togo. The big finale will be on 16 June. Meanwhile, AI Côte d'Ivoire is organising a public debate and AI Mali has already collected over 10.000 signatures for the Global Appeal.

The President of the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) and Co-Chair of the IANSA International Advisory Committee, Baffour Amoa, was received by the Presidency of Cote d'Ivoire, where he took the opportunity to bring attention to the Week of Action and request Cote d’Ivoire's support for a strong and robust ATT during the Diplomatic Conference in July. Visiting Cote d’Ivoire from 10-15 June, the President of WAANSA also called on civil society to join the movement against gun violence and the proliferation of small arms.

The Cameroon Youths and Students Forum for Peace (CAMYOSFOP) released a press statement calling onthe government of Cameroon to take the lead in pushing for a strong andbinding ATT. In the days ahead, CAMYOSFOP will meet with officials of the Ministry of External Relations for a face-to-face discussion on the role of Cameroon in pushing for a stronger ATT during the Diplomatic Conference. CAMYOSFOP will also participate in a number of TV and radio talk shows on the ATT and the UNPoA.

In Mexico, the IANSA Survivors Network, along with its Mexican partners, is organising a conference on “The International Regulation of the Arms Trade: The Perspective of the Victims of Armed Violence”. Roberto Dondisch, the head of the Mexican delegation to the Arms Trade Treaty Diplomatic Conference will be a keynote speaker and the Norwegian Embassy will be a guest of honor.

In Lublin, Poland, the local Amnesty group is organising workshops on arms control and the ATT and screening two films: 'Eyes and Ears of God', about the atrocities in Sudan and 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields', both demonstrating the effects of the arms trade in conflict zones.